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Atlantic Wall- Tobruk.

Time flies. Quite a while since I last posted, lots going on. I mentioned in the ‘Dig in’ post that I would follow it up with this post looking at a mortar and French tank turret Tobruk.

Tobruks were a simple fortification, in effect a concreted hole in the ground from which an LMG or other weapon could be used while protecting the firer. Found often as part of a large bunker or fortification, smaller stand alone positions were also used as part of a defensive position among trenches or near a critical position or feature.

These are really straightforward there’s no real complexity and the pictures really explain how they go together I won’t detail the combination of flocks and static grass I have used here since we all do different combinations for our own tables. I will however cover basing in a future post. Here's a few pictures and the odd comment that show stages to creating these 2 positions.

Materials wise- Cork tiles for the bases

Blue (now black) foam – for the turret position

5mm laminate flooring underlay - for the mortar position

Filler – cheap stuff from the pound store.

The Turret is the spare that comes with the Rubicon Renault R35 tank, which is incidentally, a lovely little kit, which I purchased as armour support for my Atlantic wall defenders. The type was used by German forces in Normandy in an armour training Battalion.

Guidance for the build came from a book I picked up in one of my early trips to Normandy

In French (not an issue for me) but I believe there is an English version available. ISBN: 978-2-84048-297-0- is the French version, which may help find an English one. Filled with pictures maps and illustrations, the book covers all the defensive positions across the landing beaches and details all the different types of bunker and fortification which included the turret position and the mortar position that was designed for the 5 cm light mortar. Often listed as withdrawn from service by 1944, that’s not strictly correct, and it was to be found in this kind of position and on issue to the kind of static units like 716 and 352 Divisions that manned the Atlantic wall.

So, having scaled the dimensions of the visible part of the fortification I cut the foam to shape. I wanted to get it accurate to the design however just having the turret sat on concrete suggesting a dug in structure would be absolutely fine.

I didn’t want to incorporate it into a sizeable piece of terrain which would limit its usability. Rather this would be a small piece that I could use for both historical and hypothetical games.

2 layers of foam, a test of the turret and adding an entrance and its time for the filler.

Once sanded, the whole thing is undercoated (I use artist acrylics) and the vegetation added.

Likewise the mortar position, however in this case its several layers (4 in total) of the laminate underlay. Now, the 5 cm mortar is designed to be fired prone and so to be used in the fortification a hexagonal concrete pillar upon which it is placed was built this allows the firer to stand in the Tobruk. Since I want this low profile the depth has to be simulated so the pillar is suggested with a piece of card and the base painted black to simulate depth of the position.

The mortar comes from the Warlord Bolt Action Afrika Korps sprue. The figure has to be cut at the waist again to deal with the simulated depth.

I have a couple more of these planned. A second R35 is to be acquired for a French army with the Spare turret used in a position in a harbour. The 'hole in the ground' Tobruk is a very common Atlantic wall feature either the mortar type like here or for LMG's.

As ever, feel free to drop me a line if you have any questions.



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